“Look for the good,” my grandma used to say.
I tell ya, it was hard to see the good today.
Before I even had my coffee, my child had a seizure in the shower. It was short, just an absence seizure, but the blackout and loss of memory/time scared him. And rightfully so.
Then, I had to parent. Every part of me wanted to call in sick, let him call in sick, and just hold him. But that teaches nothing but the ability to use his Epilepsy as an excuse. And I know that. We are raising our kids to not need us, and there’s a difference between “I can’t function.” tired and “I can get through the day.” tired.
Asher decided he was “I can do it.” tired. He made it through the school day after having experienced a seizure this morning. Proud momma, but I hated being away from him. I did call our boy’s middle school principal to check on him. I mean…I’m not that good at totally leaving him alone and had to feel like I had some eyes on him. I’m still a momma after all.
Oh but that’s not all. Today was day three of advising week at my work. I truly love seeing my students and advising in general; it’s just exhausting. I’ve had 27 advising meetings in the last three days, with more tomorrow, so I’m a little pooped. Also, my family has been sick for days, the reason a seizure popped through for Asher, so the home front feels like it’s falling apart and covered with germs. Eww.
Send all the disinfecting wipes. All of them.
On top of all that, I went to sip my afternoon cup of coffee and my arm decided to malfunction. A spasm sent my coffee cup flying…all over my life. And by my life, I mean my planner.
I lost it. Cuss words in my professional environment. Immediate tears. And my co-workers literally came running. See – we educators understand the importance of a paper planner. I once threatened my father’s life when he set his chewing tobacco spitter on top of said planner in our living room. He didn’t do that again.
So that was it. The last straw. Coffee on my planner broke me.
I cleaned up the mess, with the help of my colleagues, let some tears fall, and started researching vacations on my computer. Am I going? No. But the idea made me happy, and I needed to escape, even if it was just for a moment of looking at tropical places while it’s 32 and windy outside. I needed positivity and a distraction.
And while “escaping,” I heard my grandmother. “Look for the good.”
Grandma Louise passed away in 2016, but it’s amazing how much her beautiful, joyful outlook on life is still so much a part of me. She had been through a lot of heartache in her life too, but she found blessings everywhere she looked.
I glanced at the clock and realized it was nearing time for me to do my favorite thing – teach. Ahh…something good to focus on. So simple. But so good.
The lesson today was one very near and dear to my heart, weaving social emotional learning exercises into every lesson for students. You see, at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, I teach future teachers how to teach. My goal is to help these future educators support the humanity of their future students. It creates an environment of learning and respect unparalleled. We talked about things adults should already know – kids have emotions too and it’s hard to learn when your world is controlled by them. So we teach them to allow emotions and to work through them…never ignore. We support – simple as that.
It’s not hard for my passion to come through during this lesson, and I felt myself again throughout the class. We talked through the entire 55 minutes, heads nodded, and I thanked God I had been able to teach that lesson on this especially hard day.
Then, I got on the elevator and when I hit the first floor, the door refused to open. Because of course it did.
But by this point, I was laughing. I imagined my grandmother and Jesus giggling with one another, knowing how much I appreciate irony, and the continued blunders in my day actually started to make me feel better. So I looked for the good, just like grandma said. I laughed, and the door finally opened.
When I got back to my office, I had an email from a student…
“Hello Dr. Koch!
First of all, I want to commend you for doing such a great job doing what you do. I have been heavily impacted by mental health from multiple different angles throughout my life and I appreciate how much emphasis you put on it in your teachings. I have been on the edge of crying multiple times throughout the course of this unit because I genuinely want the best for the world and the students that I am going to be teaching, and I want to promote mental health awareness in my future classroom. Seeing how you’re able to implement it while not letting it get too much in the way of the curriculum is really inspiring to me, so I felt a thanks was necessary.”
So I cried again. Because of my ability to pull myself up by the bootstraps and get on with my day, just like my child with Epilepsy had done today, I got to positively impact someone else. Because I can see the good. I can always see the good.
Thanks, grandma. Love and miss you.